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Retail Loss Prevention Specialists


The retail loss prevention field developed in the late 1900s. Retailers had security personnel onsite in stores to monitor shoppers and protect against shoplifting and theft, but they became aware of other losses such as internal theft by store workers, or fraud and other criminal acts. Many stores started to use closed-circuit television/camera systems to monitor customers and employees. These systems were effective and are still used today, however, other approaches were needed to prevent the crimes and loss from happening.

In the 1970s, many companies renamed their security departments to loss prevention departments. In the 1980s and 1990s, loss prevention managers focused their work on improving the profits for companies. Loss prevention industry publication LPM Insider reported that the work of loss prevention specialists during this time contributed to a "measurable reduction in losses, such as inventory shortage, cash loss, credit fraud, expense management, and the liability lines on the profit and loss statement (general and workers' compensation)." Many retailers and corporations now have asset protection departments, reflecting a broader, proactive approach to loss prevention.

Today retail loss prevention specialists use various investigative techniques and tools, including analytical and scientific software programs, to monitor shoppers' and employees' activities and prevent merchandise loss. They must be knowledgeable about best practices in loss prevention and public safety and security policies and procedures.